Local Features

In addition to the local news, WXPR Public Radio also likes to find stories that are outside the general news cycle... Listen below to stories about history, people, culture, art, and the environment in the Northwoods that go a little deeper than a traditional news story allows us to do. Here are all of the series we include in this podcast: Curious North, We Live Up Here, A Northwoods Moment in History, Field Notes, and Wildlife Matters.

These features are also available as a podcast by searching "WXPR Local Features" wherever you get your podcasts.

Image by CTolman on Pixabay.com

Rocky the owl made headlines recently with a wild ride into the Big Apple. The Masked Biologist ponders the plight of this owl in this week’s wildlife matters.

Image by Vlanka on Pixabay.com

If you live in the Northwoods, you know there are still many family-run funeral homes. Funeral home directors, along with the entire funeral industry, have made changes as a result of the pandemic. But small community funeral directors often have an extra burden.

On a recent Saturday, Bill Sherer carefully wrapped fine thread and colorful chenille around a hook. A handful of fly-tying learners watched and copied the move with the materials in their own hands.

Sherer has been teaching these classes at his self-proclaimed “throwback, old-fashioned” fly-fishing shop, We Tie It in Boulder Junction, for years.

“Here in the Upper Midwest, we have fishing season and we have fly-tying season. It’s a great winter activity,” Sherer said.

But for this winter’s round of classes, Sherer is the only one in his shop.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Teenagers playing pranks on the community is an issue that is as old as civilization itself. Every generation has had to deal with it in one way or another. But a prank is little more than a practical joke or a mischievous act. At what point does an innocent prank cross the line to become juvenile delinquency? An incident from Oneida County’s early history shows how easily the line can be crossed. Historian Gary Entz has the story.


Marshfield Clinic

Over the last few years, members of the Washington D.C.-based Bipartisan Policy Center visited Marshfield Clinic in Minocqua, seeking a window into rural healthcare in America.

Rural areas like northern Wisconsin face hospital closures, physician shortages, and a struggle to access telehealth services, the Center found in a comprehensive report.

Some of the issues facing rural health care have only intensified since the pandemic started, especially telehealth.

wisconsin historical society

Thanksgiving traditionally is a time when people celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the year gone by. It is a time when extended families gather with one another to give thanks for good health and, in some cases, to watch football. The Thanksgiving season of 1933, however, had an element of good cheer that had a lot of people in the Northwoods in a celebratory mood. Historian Gary Entz has the story.


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With the deer hunting season going on, there are undoubtedly some people wondering just how concerned they need to be about Chronic Wasting Disease. The Masked Biologist shares some thoughts in this week’s Wildlife Matters.


Forest Archaeology

Nov 20, 2020
Photo courtesy of Mark Bruhy

If you live up here, you are familiar with the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. What you may not know is that these forests were inhabited for thousands of years and that there is a team of archaeologists who protect and manage these cultural resources.

wisconsin historical society

Many people in small towns take parking for granted. Except for the height of tourist season, finding a parking spot in most Northwoods towns is not a problem. But it was not so long ago that parking in small town business districts was regulated by parking meters. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

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With the recent media frenzy surrounding the election, did you happen to catch the story about the Minnesota gator? The Masked Biologist did, and he crafted it into this week’s Wildlife Matters.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

It’s 3:30 p.m. on a Thursday, time for Aaron Schofield to load up the Lakeside Pharmacy and Grocery minivan.

He’s about to depart from the Lakeside store in Antigo.

“I just kind of hop in the van, head out, go to the address,” he said.

Aaron makes a circuit of Antigo at 3:30 every day, delivering prescription medication to the doors of customers. The number of deliveries are never constant, but never zero.

“Could be anywhere from three to four like today, to 15 to 20 [on other days],” he said. “You really just never know.”

wisconsin historical society

Today is Veterans Day in the United States, but prior to 1954 it was known as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War One. To honor Northwoods veterans, historian Gary Entz has a story of two soldiers from Tomahawk who distinguished themselves in the Great War.

Sugar In Trees

Nov 10, 2020
image by diapicard on pixabay.com

In this month's installment of Field Notes Scott Bowe of Kemp Station discusses sugar in trees, how Mother Nature makes trees and plant with simple sugars.

image by free-photos on pixabay.com

October was not a great weather month, but we had a mild start to November. Was it Indian Summer or just a rare warm week? Whatever the case, it was much appreciated as the Masked Biologist shares in this week’s Wildlife Matters.

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